Category Archives: candy

No Bake Ghirardelli Chocolate Chews

No Bake Ghirardelli Chocolate Chews
If you’re in a hurry and don’t feel like pulling out the mixer then you will love these.  Other than the below ingredients, you will only need a pot on a stove.  Easy to make and very delicious.  And you will get plenty of chews.  This recipe makes around 60 chocolate chews.

2 cups organic sugar
1⁄2 cup  Earth Balance vegan buttery sticks or unsalted butter (for non-vegan version)
1⁄2 cup full fat milk such as almond milk, coconut milk, cashew milk
1 tablespoon maple syrup or honey (for non-vegan version)
1 cup Ghirardelli Bittersweet or semi-sweet chocolate chips
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1⁄4 teaspoon almond extract
2 cups quick-cooking rolled oats
1 cup sweetened flaked coconut
1⁄2 cup coarsely chopped almonds (walnuts or pecans may also be used)

 

Homemade Marzipan Candy

Homemade Marzipan Candy

Marzipan is a sweet tasting doughy molding paste made from ground almonds.  It can be used in place of gum paste or fondant for sculpting and molding flowers and decorations.  It’s also used as a confection.  It’s easy and far less expensive to make it yourself.  Just keep it wrapped well in airtight plastic wrap for up to two weeks.

2 cups granulated sugar (I used a combination of stevia blend and organic sugar)
1/8 tsp cream of tartar
4 cups almond meal or almond flour
2 egg whites
Powdered sugar for dusting

Optional: melted chocolate for dipping

 

Chocolate Coconut Almond Candy

I’ve said often times that I’m not a big lover of coconut.  With that said, there are some recipes that have coconut in it, that I either don’t mind or I really like.  This is one of the recipes that I really like.  It tastes just like a Mounds candy bar but this version is healthier, vegan, and gluten free.

1  1/2 cups bittersweet chocolate chips
1/2 cup Earth Balance Vegan Buttery Stick, softened (Smart Balance brand is also good)
2 1/2 cups organic powdered sugar (Learn to make your own here )
1 tablespoon cashew milk (almond, soy, coconut, or any other unsweetened high fat milk can be used)
1/4 teaspoon almond extract
2 1/2 cups shredded coconut
1/2 cup toasted sliced almonds

Melted chocolate for decoration

To toast coconut and almonds, spread out in a pan and bake at 350 oven for 5 to 10 minutes.  Keep an eye on them because they will go from lightly toasted to burnt very quickly.

Chocolate Peanut Butter Easter Eggs (Clean Eating and Vegan)

These are the best chocolate eggs I’ve ever had and they’re not just for Easter. You can make these anytime of the year and mold them into different shapes.  You’ll never buy Reese’s again.  The best part of them is that they are healthy and delicious!

1 cup natural peanut butter (make sure the only ingredient are peanuts.  You don’t want any salt or sugar added)
2 Tablespoons coconut cream
2 Tablespoons cashew butter (If you can’t get hold of cashew butter you can substitute almond butter)
1/4 cup coconut palm sugar or organic granulated sugar (a stevia blend would also work)
4 ounces of bittersweet chocolate (sweetened with cane juice)

Turtle Pretzel Candy Clusters

Unlike most of my newer recipes, this one is not clean-eating and I explain why in the video above.  I did swap in some healthier ingredients such as the whole wheat pretzels instead of the processed ones and I used a good quality cane juice sweetened dark chocolate.  But it’s because of the caramels that I couldn’t officially call this clean eating.  There might be a clean eating caramel available in health stores but I’ve never seen it and the one recipe I found to make clean eating caramels was so awful, I threw them out.

Truth be told, I’m not willing to sacrifice the taste of good food just to make them clean eating.  So, for the occasional treat, it’s ok to eat this.  It’s not going to kill you.

Let me tell you all something gang, I know quite a few people in the fitness industry that also cheat from time to time and they’re doing just fine.  And for the trainer at the gym during Christmas, I saw you eating those cookies!

So here is what you’ll need:

1 cup Chocolate (I used bittersweet but you can use semi-sweet or milk chocolate.  PLEASE, don’t use candy melts)
24 bite sized pretzels (square or twist)
12 baking caramels, unwrapped
1 tsp. water
24 whole pecans

Additional chocolate for decoration.  Could be dark, semi-sweet, or white chocolate.

Hard Candy Gems – Made with Isomalt

I made these beautiful gems for an upcoming project. The picture doesn’t really do them much justice because up front and in person, they are glossy and sparkle.  Why?  Because they were made with isomalt instead of sugar syrup.

Isomalt is a sugar substitute used in sugar-free hard candy, cough drops and lollipops.  It’s derived from beets but is not a natural sweetener because it’s also chemically altered  sugar substitute derived from beets.  However, it’s not considered a natural sweetener because it was chemically altered.   It’s easy to use, sets up quick and compared to sugar syrup, these gems come out of the mold with great clarity.  That’s why you’ll see quite a bit of isomalt use in cake decorating.

There is a downside though.  Read the small print on any package of candy made with isomalt and you’ll see a warning that too much consumption of it has a laxative effect and will give you gas, bloating and diarrhea.  Yikes!

To make these gems you’ll need a few supplies:

Isomalt.  If you’re lucky enough to have a cake decorating store near you, they probably have it.  If not, you can find it here 1 Pound Isomalt

Gem candy molds.  I used the small mold in the above video.  Just like the Isomalt, this is available in cake decorating stores or here Small Candy Mold  NOTE: As I point out in the video, only use molds made for hard candy because isomalt gets very hot and they will not melt.  Those plastic molds made for chocolate candy will melt.

Candy thermometer

Oven mitt and kitchen towel

Toothpicks, if needed

Disposable pastry bag or paper cone

Hard candy flavors, optional

Gel paste colors, optional

 

 

3 Nut Clusters

I love clusters and even though I don’t have as much of a sweet tooth as I used to, thanks to cutting down on sugar, I still love caramel.  In this recipe, I combined 3 kinds of my favorite nuts.  You can use whatever you want or even just keep it solo by only using one kind.  Or if you prefer, buy a bag of mixed nuts and use them.  You can also add raisins and chocolate chips if you want.

As I said above, I love caramel but too much of it is too sweet for my taste so I tend to use just enough to hold the nuts together.  Of course if you prefer more, use more.

30 individually wrapped caramels, unwrapped {about 8 ounces}
2 tablespoons heavy cream
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 1/2 cup of coarsely chopped nuts ( I used 1/2 cup pecans, 1/2 cup cashews, 1/2 cup lightly salted peanuts)
1/2 cup semi sweet chocolate chips
2 teaspoons vegetable shortening

Follow directions in video above.

 

 

 

Chocolate Heart Candy

Heart Candy

These chocolate hearts are were made using a Wilton candy pop mold and left out the stick.  They are part of these cookies I am making.

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Pecan Toffee Chocolate Candy (Vegan and clean eating alternative included)

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The holidays are over and that means re-starting that weight loss/healthy lifestyle resolution that you never followed through with last year.  Or the year before that.  My approach to any healthy lifestyle is “moderation” which includes healthy treats and  unhealthy treats.  So here is a recipe for pecan toffee.  Even the healthier clean eating version is still high in calories but toffee can be broken into smaller size portions for those days that you allow yourself a treat, in moderation of course.  And the rest can be sealed and saved for up to a month or more.

I changed a few things around to make it just a smidgeon healthier.  For one, corn syrup is forbidden in my home.  As an alternative, I use tapioca syrup which you can purchase here

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Here’s is what you need:

2 sticks unsalted butter (For a vegan and healthier version, use 2 sticks Earth Balance Vegan Buttery Sticks)
200 grams raw organic sugar (I haven’t tried this with coconut palm sugar and don’t know how the results will be.  If you try it, let me know)
1/4 cup water
1 tsp Tapioca Syrup (You know how I feel about corn syrup but if you want, you can use that or glucose instead)
a pinch of salt (I usually leave salt out but sea salt would be a cleaner option)
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
3/4 cup semi-sweet or bittersweet chocolate chips (cane sweetened for a cleaner choice)
3/4 cup chopped pecan nuts.
Prepare a sheet pan with either a silicone mat or spray the pan liberally with cooking spray.

Melt the butter and sugar.  Add in the water, tapioca syrup, and salt and bring to a boil over medium high heat.  Once at a boil attach a candy thermometer. Stir occasionally to ensure an even color.  Cook sugar mixture until thermometer reaches 300 degrees.  It could take anywhere 10-15 minutes or longer depending on the depth of your pot.  Be patient!  It must reach this temperature for toffee to set up and harden.  Once the mixture reaches 300 degrees, remove from heat and while stirring, add in vanilla extract.

Pour onto prepared pan and wait about two minutes to slightly cool.  Sprinkle chocolate chips.  The heat of the toffee will melt the chips.  With a spatula, spread the melted chocolate across the toffee completely covering it.  Then sprinkle pecans on top.

Wait about 2-3 hours to harden at room temperature.  Break apart into desired sizes.

Toffee can be stored in an airtight container for at least a month.  Never refrigerate or freeze it as the condensation with make it soft and gummy in texture.

Chocolate Faux Marshmallow Cups. Clean eating and vegan.

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It’s snowing again.  At least a foot of snow is blanketing the streets and grass which means another day home.  Snowed in.  To keep from going stir crazy I made these easy chocolate cups filled with a healthier type of marshmallow.  It only requires two ingredients and a candy mold.

If you’ve been following me on Facebook or here, you know one of my favorite ingredients is a product called Rice Mellow.

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Made by a local company called Suzanne Specialties, Rice Mellow is a healthy clean eating version of marshmallow made with brown rice syrup instead of corn syrup.  In fact, I like it so much, I can eat it by the spoonful right out of the tub.   It’s not widely available outside of health food stores but can be purchased here.

To make approximately 10 cups you will need:

6 ounces good dark chocolate.  The higher the cacao the better.
5 ounces or half a tub of Suzanne’s Specialties Rice Mellow
Either a miniature muffin tin lined with mini baking cups or a peanut butter cup candy mold

Melt chocolate in microwave for 1 minute stir and reheat for 30 second intervals until melted and smooth.  Do not overheat or the chocolate will burn.  Fill chocolate cups 1/2 full with melted chocolate.  With a small paint brush (one that is used only for food and not for paint), paint the sides of the cups with chocolate so rice mellow will not be visible when unfolded.  Refrigerate for 20-30 minutes or until chocolate is set and hard.

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Spoon in 1 teaspoon of rice mellow.  Smooth out to release air bubbles.   Reheat leftover chocolate until melted and spoon on top of cups until rice mellow is completely covered.  Be sure to seal any gaps with chocolate.  Refrigerate again for another 30 minutes until chocolate is hard and set.